President's Corner

An Amazing Year in AASA’s Evolution
By David R. Schuler/School Administrator, June 2016

I can’t believe this is my last monthly column in School Administrator magazine. It has been such an honor to have the opportunity to serve as your AASA president during the 2015-16 school year.

I have never been so confident in the future of our country knowing our public schools have leaders like you.

I have had the privilege to share and celebrate the many successes of our public schools while traveling the nation. At the same time, I have participated in honest discussions about our ongoing challenges. Through these important and relevant conversations, you’ve demonstrated the commitment you have to improving the future for the children who walk through our schoolhouse doors on a daily basis. You understand that the superintendency of today deals with more than just budgets and books — our profession is about teaching and learning and supporting teachers, children and parents.

Over the years, AASA has evolved from being an advocacy organization that holds one annual conference to a professional learning association that maintains a primary mission of advocacy, while actively creating ways to connect and engage school district leaders in opportunities for continuing professional development.

From the AASA Superintendents Personalized Learning Cohort to the AASA Digital Consortium and the AASA Collaborative for Innovation and Transformational Leadership (formerly the AASA Collaborative) to #suptchat and certification programs, never before have school district leaders had so many opportunities to connect and collaborate with each other.

I’m especially proud of AASA’s Redefining Ready! initiative, which introduces a multimetric, research-based approach to determining what it means to be college ready, career ready and life ready. This national campaign is designed to change the narrative on public education from a one-standardized-test-judges-all philosophy to a focus on readiness for our nation’s 50 million-plus public school students.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals, Phi Delta Kappa and the Consortium for School Networking already have endorsed this initiative, as have many school boards and school leaders. Even though my term is ending, I am committed to continuing this movement to authentically and appropriately redefine college and career readiness.

Our nation’s teachers and school leaders provide students with rigorous academic programs, personalized and career-specific learning experiences, along with social and emotional skills that prepare them to be global citizens in an ever-changing world.

Students learn in a variety of ways. They should be able to demonstrate readiness in a variety of ways. The new readiness indicators, developed from research by world-class organizations, more accurately reflect the educational landscape of the 21st century.

I’m thrilled AASA has become the leading voice in changing the narrative on public education in this country.

We have a huge opportunity with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act to transcend the national conversation above assessments and opting out and focus instead on readiness and the important role we play in the cradle-to-career pipeline.

I give my best wishes to Alton Frailey and Gail Pletnick as they move to their new roles as AASA president and president-elect, respectively. And the organization is in great hands under Dan Domenech’s leadership. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity and for the work you all do on behalf of our nation’s public schoolchildren.

David Schuler is AASA president for 2015-16. E-mail: Twitter: @DSchuler1970